Indiana Congressman Mike Pence has declared a personal war on Planned Parenthood in hopes of ending abortion. For the past three legislative sessions, he has targeted Planned Parenthood by introducing legislation that would deny Title X funds to any organization providing abortions. According to Politico:
This week, Pence went even further, introducing an amendment to the continuing resolution that would strip Planned Parenthood — and Planned Parenthood alone — of all federal funding.
Pence’s latest maneuver comes at an inopportune time for many in the Republican Party.
Some GOP leaders — including Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels — have urged their party to downplay hot-button social issues in order to win over moderate voters ahead of the 2012 presidential race. Others, like House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), have said House Republicans must focus on creating jobs and cutting spending.
Rep. Pence remains the darling of social conservatives. Many supported him for the presidential race in 2012, despite the fact he has said he will not run. Pence has not ruled out the possibility of running for Indiana governor.
Minutes ago, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to bar Planned Parenthood from all federal funding for any purpose whatsoever. That means no funding to Planned Parenthood health centers for birth control, lifesaving cancer screenings, HIV testing, and other essential care.
Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards has said Pence is single minded and obsessed with starving out Planned Parenthood. What does Planned Parenthood really do?
For years now, Planned Parenthood has received a significant portion of the money awarded through Title X, which can pay for pelvic exams, breast exams, safer-sex counseling and basic infertility counseling, among other things.
Planned Parenthood estimates it received a quarter of the $317 million in Title X funds appropriated last year. A third of its budget came from government grants in 2009, according to the organization’s 2008-2009 annual report.
Title X money can’t be used to pay for abortions, and Pence does not allege that Planned Parenthood has improperly used Title X funds to do so.
But Planned Parenthood performed 328,300 abortions in 2008, which would account for about a quarter of the 1.21 million abortions that year, according to statistics from the Guttmacher Institute. And those abortions made up 3 percent of the patient services that Planned Parenthood offered in 2008.
It seems to me that those who want to reduce the incidence of abortion would want to make certain that people of reproductive age have access to safe, reliable contraception. No federal funds go towards abortion. The Hyde Amendment which has been in full force for around 30 years prohibits any federal funding of abortion.